A Lifetime Of Kindness Comes Back Around

Tony Robison, a resident of West Virginia, has a lot of fond memories of his volunteer work with the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Air Show. He is an avid fan of all things aviation, and his kindness and positive spirit drew others to him — including the woman of his dreams, Sheila, whom he met during one of the shows. Together, they were flying high in love.

“She loved it so much, and it was a good way for me to meet new people, so those were really good times. Plus, we both like giving something back to the community because it has been good to us,” remembers Tony.

Sadly, the newlyweds are now facing difficult news: Tony has been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. His treatments have been mildly effective, but doctors predict he has six months to a year to live. Tony and Sheila are making the best of their situation by spending his last days spreading the message of the importance of early detection and treatment for prostate cancer.

Tony’s community is returning his history of kindness in a big way. He was recently treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience courtesy of Nic Diehl, an air-show organizer who remembered the couple’s passion for helping others. Nic was touched by Tony and Sheila’s commitment to educating people about the disease to which he lost his own dad, and he decided to let Tony know just how much he matters to the community.

With the help of other locals, Nic arranged for Tony to enjoy a special, private air show this past May. Sheila was in on the secret, but Tony had no idea what was in store for him when he arrived at the Aero-Smith Flight Center. He was totally surprised to be able to ride in an F-1 Rocket stunt plane, with the pilot hitting speeds up to 265 miles per hour and performing aerial acrobatics. Tony even took over the controls for a few seconds, which was about as long as he could stand it.

The day’s events were topped off by the presentation of a certificate from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Brown read a letter from Colonel Shaun Perkowski of the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard. The entire day was a tremendous honor for Tony and Sheila.

The Robisons are facing a tough battle, but their hope is that they can save another family from suffering because of a late diagnosis. They hope to see a day when the importance of prostate cancer screening is emphasized in the media and by health care professionals. You can learn more about the disease and how you can help educate others at the Prostate Cancer Foundation website.

Image source: Flickr